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Chris Murphy Rips Linda McMahon Over Gay Marriage Gaffe in Rancorous Connecticut Senate Debate: VIDEO

Murphy

Polls show the Connecticut race for U.S. Senate between Democrat Chris Murphy and Republican Linda McMahon to be a dead heat, and in a feisty debate held last night the candidates sparred on a number of issues.

When asked how she feels about same-sex marriage, McMahon made what local news is calling the biggest gaffe of the debate.

Said McMahon, the 64-year-old former CEO of World Wrestling Entertainment, now the WWE: "I absolutely support America's law for same-sex marriage. And I wouldn't pretend to try to impose my will or rights on others. I think everyone should have the freedom to make that choice."

Murphy, taken aback, responded:

"America doesn't have a law protecting same-sex marriage, in fact it has the exact opposite. The United States has a law that discriminates against people based on their sexual orientation...The fact that Linda McMahon  spent only about 20 seconds answering that question tells you that she's not going to stand up to her party in Washington when it comes to these issues that right now are being dominated by the social right in Washington. There is a war being waged against gays and lesbians, and I was proud to stand on one side of that war."

McMahon fired back that she's a pro-choice candidate for gay and lesbian civil rights and would have voted to repeal 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell' if she had the chance.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Chris Murphy Rips Linda McMahon Over Gay Marriage Gaffe in Rancorous Connecticut Senate Debate: VIDEO" »


'Call Me Maybe' Goes Symphonic: VIDEO

CallMeSymphonic

Perhaps you don't need to hear another version of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe" again, but do. Just one more. AFTER THE JUMP, find a gorgeous, and -- maybe this is just me -- somehow melancholic, fully orchestral, end-of-summer take on the season's infectingest, saccharinest hit.

From the NY Daily News:

Colin Britt and Arianne Abela arranged a full-on orchestral rendition of the song replete with glockenspiels, violas and violins.

"Like everyone, I have heard this song a lot for the entire summer," Britt told the Daily News. "And I, like everyone—whether they want to admit it or not—have the guilty pleasure of enjoying it."

Britt got an idea to record a version from the string riff that appears during each chorus ... The arrangers sent invitations to classically trained musicians near New Haven, Conn. to perform a pop song, but didn't tell them the specific song until they arrived.

Sixty-some-odd musicians showed up. They dubbed themselves the 3Penny Chorus and Orchestra, and they rocked.

Continue reading "'Call Me Maybe' Goes Symphonic: VIDEO" »


Another Federal Court Finds DOMA Unconstitutional

Glad_doma

A U.S. District Court in Connecticut has declared DOMA unconstitutional, in the case of Pedersen v. OPM.

Chris Geidner on U.S. District Court Judge Vanessa L. Bryant's decision:

Bryant — appointed to the bench by President George W, Bush on April 2, 2007 — found that laws that classify people based on sexual orientation should be subject to heightened scrutiny by courts — as the Department of Justice and plaintiffs argued in the case — but found the provision of the 1996 law unconstitutional "even under the most deferential level of judicial scrutiny."

The House Republican leadership had defended the law's constitutionality in court, through its 3-2 majority on the House Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group. The group has been defending the law since the Obama administration stopped defending the law in February 2011.

Here's the ruling (PDF)...

Here's what our legal expert Ari Ezra Waldman wrote about the case back in November 2010:

Plaintiffs...the plaintiffs in Pedersen are being denied federal benefits because of the federal definition of marriage even though they are legally married in states like Connecticut or New Hampshire, for example. The lead plaintiff, Joanne Pedersen, is retired from the Department of Naval Intelligence but is unable to put her same-sex spouse on her health plan. The other plaintiffs cannot get leave under the Family and Medical Leave Act or benefits through Social Security. GLAD is seeking a declaration that DOMA's one-man-one-woman definition of marriage discriminates against these plaintiffs because it denies them benefits all straight couples can get.

In one sense, then, this case is about tangible benefits, the monetary accouterments of being married. Those benefits are significant -- death benefits help pay end-of-life costs, health care costs can skyrocket. The case is also an "as-applied" challenge, meaning it is about the denial of benefits to these specific plaintiffs. This fact distinguishes this face from Log Cabin Republicans v. United States, which was a facial challenge to Don't Ask, Don't Tell. In the case of an as-applied challenge, the plaintiffs argue that a given law is discriminating against them in the provision of benefits -- someone had to try to get those federal benefits before bringing the case; in the case of the facial challenge to DADT, the LCR is bringing the case on behalf of its members who have been dismissed, couldn't join the military or would join the military if they were applied to serve openly.

But, just because this case hinges on the denial of benefits and only refers to these plaintiffs does not make it a pure issue of money. GLAD notes that this is discrimination, pure and simple, and as-applied challenges can result in the declaration of the entire statutes as unconstitutional just like facial challenges.

This case has a strong likelihood of success.


Student Arrested For Making Up Anti-Gay Threats

LexiPennellA Central Connecticut State University student has been arrested after allegedly writing anti-gay notes to herself and then reporting them to get attention. Local CBS affiliate WTIC reports today that the CCSU campus rallied around 19-year old Lexi Pennell, when Pennell claimed she was receiving homophobic threats.

After placing a hidden camera in her room, however, campus police discovered Pennell had planted the missives herself. They confronted her in late April, she confessed and was arrested on May 2 on 25 charges, including fabricating evidence and making a false statement to the police.

Pennell wrote an apology to her roommate, WTIC reports, and said she faked the incidents because she wanted attention from her friends and a girlfriend she feared losing. She's probably lost them all now...


Students Rally Against Anti-Gay Hate in Connecticut: VIDEO

Haterally

Approximately 50 students at Western Connecticut State University staged a rally in response to several incidents of anti-gay hate on campus, including one in which a note reading "Die Dyke" was written on a dry erase board on a student's door.

Patch reports:

University President James Schmotter said Wednesday, "Enough is enough."

"The cowardly writing of such anonymous messages may be easy, but it causes real pain and discomfort for those targeted.  Such hate speech has no place at
this university and will not be tolerated," Schmotter said in a campus-wide e-mail."If, as in those previous incidents, perpetrators are identified, they will be prosecuted in accordance with campus and state and federal legal codes."

Federal law comes into play because almost every single use of the internet involves crossing state lines. The incidents are investigated as "intimidation based on bigotry or bias." ...

...In a separate incident reported at Fairfield Hall, WCSU police are investigating threatening and harassing blogs posed on a Tumblr account belonging to two students. That was reported March 6 at 10:41 a.m.

The word "Fags," was written on a paper taped to the door of a student at Litchfield Hall on March 3.

Watch a WTNH news report on the rally, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Students Rally Against Anti-Gay Hate in Connecticut: VIDEO" »


Hartford Archdiocese Launches Abstinence Program for Gay Catholics Called 'Courage': VIDEO

Pallotti

The Archdiocese of Hartford, Connecticut has launched a new program called 'Courage' which encourages gay Catholics to live a 'chaste' life by abstaining from having sex, whether they are legally married (as is possible in the state) or not, the NYDN reports:

The controversial ministry group, called Courage, will offer confidential counseling to gay church members who are “struggling” to reconcile their sexual orientation with Vatican teachings, a church official told the Daily News.

“We want to reach out to people in the Roman Catholic Church who often struggle with the church’s moral position,” Deacon Robert Pallotti told The News. “The church is not against people with same-sex attraction, just their acting out sexually.”

He said people who voluntarily seek out the program will be “affirmed and supported as Roman Catholics trying to remain faithful to church teachings.”

The ministry will promote abstinence, he confirmed, but it will accept that gay people are born with their sexual orientation.

Watch a CNN report on the new program, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Hartford Archdiocese Launches Abstinence Program for Gay Catholics Called 'Courage': VIDEO" »


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